The Outstanding Comics of Tim Sale: A Tribute to the Iconic Artist

by Eve Andrews

Comic fans across the board are devastated to hear of Tim Sale’s sad passing. The news broke on June 16th 2022 and has sent shockwaves through the comic book community. The loss weighs heavy on us all, especially for all the DC and Marvel Comics lovers out there. As such, we want to show our appreciation for this outstanding artist and all the joy he’s given over the decades. Highly detailed and deeply atmospheric, his work was and remains exceptional. Here’s a small handful of some of our favourite Tim Sale comics that stand as a testament to this incredible artist’s work.

1) Superman For All Seasons (1998)

Take the classic 70s comic book style, add a bit of depth to the colour work and subtle detail within the sketch lines, and there you have it – Superman For All Seasons! Written by Jeph Leob, it tells the story of a young Clark Kent and his journey from a simple country boy to the world’s most iconic cape-wearer. And Tim Sale’s nostalgia-fueled artwork hits just the right spot. A bittersweet throwback with all the added nuance and detail of the more modern comic age of the time, the artistic style of Superman For All Seasons is something truly special. The way the artwork harks back to the classic era couldn’t have complimented this fun-filled yet doleful storyline any better.

2) Captain America: White (2008)

Here we see Jeph Leob and Tim Sale team up once again! While Tim Sale was primarily known for his work with DC Comics, his stint with Marvel Comics was equally epic. Contrary to what the title suggests, the overall tone of Captain America: White is deeply dark and gritty. Unlike Superman For All Seasons, this one has a much stronger sense of realism in the way it’s formed and coloured, which is fitting for Jeph Leob’s much heavier storyline in this one. A story of a duo as iconic as this comics’ creators, Captain America: White brings us to the grim scape of World War II, in which Captain America and Bucky undertake a hair-raising mission, the stakes of which just keep on escalating. Filled with warm, earthy tones and heavy use of black ink, Sales’ work lends itself eerily well to the flesh-melting, war-fuelled atmosphere this story presents. There is a distinct feeling that the panels in this comic book are burning, with the flame-inspired colour palette licking at the sides of each frame in a way so vivid it’ll make your skin tingle!

3) Catwoman: When In Rome (2005)

We all love some good Catwoman content, and When In Rome is on another level! Once again, Tim Sale changes up his style, masterfully blending a mix of stylised illustrations with a dark and gritty colour palette. This provides When In Rome with a truly unique feel, with the undeniable vibe of a classically fun Catwoman adventure, yet with a looming sense of trepidation that builds tension right from the word go. In yet another Sale + Leob collab, this comic features a cast of Gotham’s most iconic villains, alongside a guest appearance from the Caped Crusader himself! With some of Gotham’s most famous, moustache-twirling villains out on the town with some dastardly malicious intent, Tim Sale strikes a perfect balance between fun and threatening.

4) Daredevil: Yellow (2002)

Once again, Tim Sale harks back to the classic comic book era with another Marvel entry: Daredevil: Yellow. Notable for its illustrative style and vibrant colour palette, this comic reeks of the 60s silver age. Finding a pleasing middle ground between gritty and fun, Daredevil: Yellow has all the comic romance of the classic era paired with some seriously dark undertones. Tim Sale’s artwork lends both wackiness and gravity to this nostalgia-fueled retelling of The Man Without Fear and how his early career shaped the hero he came to be. Page after page of zesty visuals and vivid colour, Daredevil: Yellow is guaranteed to brighten your day!

5) Hulk: Gray (2006)

This one is quite the standout. Unlike Daredevil: Yellow, which stands out for its vibrant colours, Hulk: Gray stands out for its lack of colour. While we’re used to seeing the Incredible Hulk adorned with a vivid green skin tone, Hulk: Gray takes it down several notches. Presenting the Hulk with an unfamiliar silvery hide, the comic is filled with grimy panels with punches of colour that, while often muted, stand out a mile against the dim, cool-toned backdrop. The way Sale uses this technique to emphasise specific focus points within each panel adds beautifully to the story’s overall impact. A refreshing change in tone, this one is an absolute must for any Hulk-lover out there.

6) Batman: The Long Halloween (1996)

Possibly the most iconic in Sale’s portfolio, The Long Halloween is one of the boldest Batman comics ever printed. With its dark and somewhat disturbing script, there wasn’t a better choice out there when it came to tackling the visuals. Sale was perfect for the job. With his liberal use of thick, black ink, muted colour palettes and heavy shadows, Sale’s artwork added a whole new layer of dread to the comics’ intense, foreboding atmosphere. And once again, we see something new from Sale. Having dabbled with sketchier styles in the past, the artwork in this comic is smooth as butter! Reminiscent of modern animation, Sale does a great job making the panels look liable to start moving at any given moment! A substantial 13 issues long series set in the early days of Batman’s crime-fighting career, The Long Halloween is an absolute treasure trove of good storytelling and beautiful art. It’s no wonder this is a favourite among the Tim Sale classics. Loeb’s script is an outstanding piece of art in its own right, but goddamn, this comic is worth reading just for the artwork alone!

Thank you, Tim Sale, for all the beautiful art you’ve given us over the years. You have brought so much life to the comic book industry.

You will be sorely missed.

Love from,

Comic fans everywhere xx

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